Tag Archives: terror

Annabelle: Creation (2017) Review

Published by: Anthony Wallace


downloadIt’s the prequel to the spin-off that left a sour taste in fan’s mouths when ‘Annabelle‘ released in late 2014. As ‘The Conjuring‘ took the horror genre by storm it was also the start of what would become a world building franchise. The Annabelle doll story was so famously remembered that Warner Bros. ran with the hype and began the project not so long after ‘The Conjuring’ release. Its release was met with lukewarm reactions by fans and critics that it felt more like a cash grab than a full on attempt in making a truly terrifying experience. Which leads us now to ‘Annabelle: Creation‘ and bringing the story full circle.

When Samuel and Esther Mullins lose their daughter in a tragic accident, years later they welcome a nun and foster children to live in their home. But when one of the children, Linda, discovers a doll in a locked room she unwittingly releases an unspeakable evil. As the family begins to take notice of the changes in Linda’s behavior they must gather together to save her soul.

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The interest in another Annabelle film was not something I anticipated or expected seeing as how the last one had ended. Yet the studio had other plans and sought out the director of David F. Sandberg’s  with ‘Lights Out‘. A first time success built confidence in not only the director but in producer James Wan as well. Their collaboration together could make for great cinema. And after watching ‘Annabelle: Creation‘ it can easily be said that the film has put fear back into the cinematic audience.

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What starts as a bright movie about a loving family is suddenly transformed into a moment of tragedy. The tone of the movie easily shifts from moment to moment with ease which eventually leads to nothing but terror by the end. Young actress, Talitha Bateman, plays a paraplegic orphan who goes to forbidden places and the rest is history. One thing that the Conjuring series has done right is by focusing on young talent and their vulnerability to evil. Speaking of which, we should mention a supporting role in Lulu Wilson who plays the friend of Janice. Wilson played the lead in ‘Ouija: Origin of Evil‘ (2016) as a young girl who gets possessed by a demonic spirit after playing with a ouija board. She’s an easy fit for a franchise that has benefited by young actors.

David Sandberg did an amazing job in building suspense with a creepy house and a menacing doll. What benefited Sandberg and what was lacking in the original ‘Annabelle‘ was the proper build up of fear. The use of lights and shadows played effectively here with moments of hair raising fright. Even though the setup may be familiar it certainly was more entertaining to watch. If audiences play close enough attention they’ll also get an easter egg for a cinematic building universe.

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Though the film does a better job at telling a story it does suffer from a lack of major character development. It was even more surprising when a certain character departs after revealing something of importance to one of the children. The movie basically tries to shift between the children characters that we can never get close to any of them. Ultimately it’s the doll that wins and this time it has the proper screen time to prove it. As we get to the ending it makes the connection to the first film. My only gripe would be that the events that precedes this film is a reminder of how much it let me down in the first place.

With that said, ‘Annabelle: Creation‘ is a vast improvement in story-telling with compelling characters and a little something called passion. David Sandberg has succeeded again with the help of James Wan in his corner. Fans of the Conjuring series will rejoice and can only look forward to what the franchise will bring next. If James Wan were to move on from the franchise we can be rest-assured that it will be in good hands with the likes of an up and coming director.

Rating: 7/10

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What do you guys think? Are you planning on watching ‘Annabelle: Creation‘? Is Annabelle a compelling character that needs to be further explored? Comment below and share your thoughts.

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Split (2016/17) Review

Published by: Anthony Wallace


split_red-692x1024From the director who brought us ‘The Sixth Sense‘, ‘Signs‘, and 2015’s ‘The Visit‘, M. Night Shymalan returns with a suspense thriller that stars James McAvoy and Anya Taylor-Joy. When Casey Cooke and her friends are captured by somebody with multiple personalities, they must race to find answers as to whom they’re dealing with and whether or not escape will even be possible. After coming off of a mediocre effort in Shymalan’s last movie, are we continuing to seeing a revival of the director’s career? Let’s find out.

**For the purposes of the film, I will be referring to McAvoy’s character as Kevin.**

This was definitely an unsettling movie and not in the way of violence but more so in how great of a performance we get from James McAvoy. His characters suffers from a condition called Disassociative Identity Disorder (DID) and portrays over 23 personalities that all came to be over a dark past. With this in mind, it takes us to the plot which is evident in the trailers as Casey and her friends are captured by Kevin and are then placed in an undisclosed location. We then see the different personalities come to light and in which Casey tries hard to piece together a way out. But a repetitive reference to “The Beast” raises alarms as to whether or not a deeper more menacing figure looms in the shadows.

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Having said everything thus so far and with what little is known, it’s best not to give any more details without possibly spoiling the film. All that will be said is that James McAvoy puts on a challenging performance; especially when you’re encompassing 23 characters in one body. There were moments when you felt fear for Casey, who’s played by Anya Taylor-Joy, who comes face to face with him and you never know who you would be talking to next. What also caught my attention was to the story behind Casey and how her upbringing was met with a dark past herself that I thought would later play out in the movie. But it didn’t go the way I expected.

We’re also introduced to Dr. Karen Fletcher, played by Betty Buckley, who is the psychiatrist that Kevin goes to visit. She was very good and I liked her role as this person who truly cares about him. You could sense it from the start and it wasn’t like she was meant to be written off very quick. We’re able to get a bit of exposition as to why Kevin is the way he is when the two characters are together. Their chemistry was awesome; although later on I will get into issues that I had when certain things would happen. Overall, Buckley did a great job.

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If you’re getting the hint that things didn’t pan out as I had expected while watching the movie then most likely it’s because of the direction of the script. The movie started strong but by the third act that’s when the wheels on train begins to fall apart. As seen in the trailer when McAvoy begins to climb on the walls and is running around like a demon in distress, it left me still trying to piece together how this entity breaks through the sound barrier. Because everything that involved the DID made it seem believable that a person could be this way. There was a believability factor that existed and that was one of the reasons that made everything else that was happening that more terrifying. But once “The Beast” as they say appears it sort of ruined it for me because it felt like we entered into another dimension. It could’ve been handled better.

Now let’s get to the elephant in the room which is in regards to the twist. Every M. Night Shymalan has some element of a twist in his movies and for ‘Split’ it is no different. I will not however go into detail about what that twist may entail because it is something for the audience to stumble upon for themselves. As far as my reaction to the twist I thought it was an interesting decision by the director and that’s all I will say to that.

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Where does ‘Split‘ stand against Shymalans’ other projects is that it’s a hit or miss but is definitely one of his better efforts. It’s directed with care and has good performances by the actors. Again, it goes back to the script and the direction the movie is trying to head towards can sometimes get lost in translation. The movie reminds me a lot of ‘Identity‘ (2003), where from a psychological point of view you’re not sure who’s character is really screwed up. For a January release, the movie is surprisingly fresh and forgoes the dump machine that many studios rely on.

Rating: 7/10

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Are you planning on watching ‘Split‘? Which M. Night Shymalan movie is your favorite? Comment below and share your thoughts.